The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Whew!

Matt Sullivan

The first quarter could not have gone any more perfect. A road game after a bye- get a three and out stop on the first series, methodically march down the field the other way to score a touchdown. Repeat-! Hollywood couldn’t have written it any better. And then the first quarter ended. Uh-oh…

It was like two different Ravens teams: the one that played the first and fourth quarters and then the one that played quarters two and three. I guess with so many key injuries, inconsistency is about the only thing we can count on.

The Good

Road victory against a divisional opponent. This cannot be overstated. Doesn’t matter how clean, ugly, consistent, inconsistent the victory is at a divisional opponent’s field –all that matters is hopping on the plane with a “W” in hand.

Run blocking. And the running game overall. Both for the most part good, although admittedly it/they disappeared at times.

No turnovers. There was only one pass that was even close to being picked off and that may have a miscommunication/bad route run/who knows. I’ll take that every road game- where there is really only one pass that is questionable.

Defense. For the run defense, Trent Richardson is gong to, and did, get his –he is that good. But he didn’t kill us. And the pass defense kept the Browns in check also. And they had some timely picks –Cary Williams- you go!

Joe Flacco. He wasn’t called upon nor was he needed to throw for 400 yards. He did what he had to do to win.

3’s instead of 7’s. Kept Cleveland out of the end zone. More on that in a moment.

For us, Browns coaching. You have Trent Richardson, and you have a third and one, and you call a medium pass? TWICE?!?!? I guess that is why the Browns are the Browns… And then, fourth down with nearly three minutes left and multiple (2? 3?) timeouts left. You punt and hope your defense gets a stop. Instead you go for it within your opponent’s field goal range? Isn’t that like a cardinal rule of football violation?

Finishing. We are a veteran team- we know how to finish off games and come out with a road win. It may have taken two quarters to figure things out, but we drove when we absolutely had to in the fourth quarter, made the two-point conversion (nicely designed play!) and sealed the deal.

The Bad

Too many three and out’s. I believe at one point we had five or six three and out’s in a row in the second and third quarters. That and 15 unanswered points by the Browns. Not so much the amount of points, but that we allowed them five scoring drives, essentially in a row without a counter score of our own –a FG, something, anything… Yes we held them to FG’s, but you cannot let a team go five scoring drives without breaking it up somehow.

Our coordinators inability to adjust on the fly during the game. If our coordinators develop a great game plan –look out! We can beat anybody. As soon as the opponent successfully adjusts, we have no counter punch. This is on both Cameron and Pees. They are becoming doppelgangers of each other.

The Ugly

Penalties. The number and stupidity of them. And we could have been called on illegal contact on the Browns second to last second down play –got lucky on that. Harbaugh has got the get the collective attention of some of these knuckleheads and get their stuff wired straight. This is beyond getting ridiculous. What was Pierce thinking?

Oakland comes to town. I like the fact our opponent has to travel 3,000 miles and three time zones, coming off a loss. We should have the mental edge against a not very good team. Like I said before, if we can be 7 – 2 going into the three game stretch of Steelers-Chargers-Steelers, that gives us a little bit of a cushion facing the toughest part of our schedule. Bitter that NY let the Steelers slip away –would have been nice to be two games up.

Our offense and team in general performs better at home so I am looking forward to an improved performance against Oakland. It is important to get at least a little bit of momentum going into Pittsburgh.

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